London, Ont. Mayor Matt Brown is temporarily stepping down from his post after admitting to engaging in an “inappropriate” months long affair with Deputy Mayor Maureen Cassidy, who resigned Tuesday evening.
The mayor, who is married with two young children, confirmed the infidelity to AM980 during an exclusive interview. AM980 has been investigating claims of the affair from several sources at city hall.
“Over the past many months, during a period of intense workload, I developed a close working relationship and ultimately an inappropriate personal relationship with Deputy Mayor Maureen Cassidy, for a brief period of time. This was a grave error in judgement on my part. The relationship ended some time ago,” Brown said.
“I am deeply sorry for the pain that this has caused — for my wife, my family and everyone involved. I make no excuses for my behaviour and my poor judgement in my personal life.”
Brown says he’ll “return to my (city hall) duties when we’re ready” but will be taking some time away from the office to help his family through this difficult time.
He gave no timeline as to when he would return.
“I am very focused on my family at this time. Very focused on my marriage. I love my wife and we’re working together through our private issues,” said Brown.
“We have a marriage counselor we are seeing. We also have a minister at our church that has been a real friend to both of us and a huge support.”
The mayor’s stunning admission comes less than a week after Cassidy announced she was temporarily leaving her job as a city councillor and deputy mayor for “personal reasons.”
Andrea Brown, the mayor’s wife, has issued the following statement to AM980:
“This is obviously a very difficult time for our family. When Matt first admitted to me that he had been unfaithful, I was furious. I was angry and very hurt. All that said, I am committed to this marriage, our kids, our family, and to Matt. This is where we are starting from. This is not something that is going to get fixed overnight. Together we have work to do — with the help of counseling, family and friends — to rebuild trust and focus on our marriage. Obviously, as mayor, Matt is a public figure. But, for me and the boys, this is a private family matter and I hope you will respect our privacy as we deal with this as a family.”
Like Brown, Cassidy too is married — and has three children. Reading from a prepared statement at City Hall, Cassidy admitted to the affair and apologized.
“Over time, we developed a very close and highly productive working relationship. Unfortunately, the relationship between the Mayor and me, for a brief period of time, crossed a professional boundary,” Cassidy said. “This is something which I regret immensely.”
“I have caused my family horrible pain and embarrassment and for this I could never apologize enough. I know this has also hurt the Brown family deeply and for this I am very sorry. ”
She also expressed her regrets toward colleagues.
“I apologize as well to my council colleagues for the disruption and distraction this announcement is bound to cause for them. It was never my intention to disrespect either them as individuals or the office we hold.”
The London mayor said he will be speaking to his council colleagues in the coming days as they may have questions about the relationship.
“I know that each of us have a personal life but when you’re a public figure sometimes that line is grayed,” he said.
The former Ward 7 city councillor was elected mayor in October 2014 following a campaign based largely on increasing transparency and restoring integrity at London City Hall following Joe Fontana’s troubled term, which ended prematurely after he was convicted of fraud in June 2014.
Fontana would step down as mayor days later and was replaced shortly thereafter by Joni Baechler who was appointed his successor following a vote by council colleagues.
Baechler opted not to run in the 2014 election but publicly endorsed Cassidy, who went on to win Baechler’s former council seat in Ward 5.